Four Gourmet Getaways to Book in 2024
Feast your eyes on the best places to go for a food-focused holiday
Home to England’s largest National Park, the Lake District is filled with rugged landscapes, picturesque villages and a rich cultural heritage. From the more obvious areas such as Windermere and Ambleside to hidden gems like Cartmel (a postcard-perfect village with an olde-worlde feel and a fabulous foodie scene), this part of England has enough going on to keep the most adventurous of folk occupied. It’s also where some of the UK’s best restaurants can be found.
Where to Eat
Simon Rogan’s flagship L’Enclume restaurant, with three Michelin stars, a Michelin green star and recently awarded the top spot in La Liste ranking (the first UK restaurant to win), is a must for any foodie. The food here is seasonal, local and innovative, and is based on a farm-to-table philosophy with most of the produce coming from their own farm, less than a mile away.
Securing their first Michelin star in 2019, The Old Stamp House restaurant is run by the Blackburn brothers, with Ryan in the kitchen as head chef and Craig front of house as restaurant manager. Giving diners a glimpse into the food and cultural heritage of Cumbria, this intimate 28-cover restaurant showcases an abundance of local produce including meat from nearby farms, locally-landed fish and seafood and artisan ingredients, to create its innovative dishes.
In a 17th century inn in Newton-in-Cartmel, Heft is owned by Cumbrian-born duo Kevin and Nicola Tickle. The man at the stove, Kevin takes inspiration from his upbringing on the Furness peninsula where he learned to hunt and fish, and brings his knowledge of the local landscape into the kitchen. Their set lunch and evening dishes are seasonal and served as small plates and snacks, and like any well-rounded Cumbrian pub, Heft offers a Sunday service with Kevin’s take on local roast meats.
Where to Stay
Set in 21 acres, Gilpin Hotel has 30 bedrooms, two restaurants (Michelin-starred Source and the pan-Asian Giplin Spice), a Champagne bar and lounge. Most of the bedrooms have their own hot tubs, and just one mile away, Giplin Lake House is a sanctuary overlooking its own private lake. With just six bedrooms, this tranquil paradise is the perfect escape – and for those wanting to take advantage of the dining at the main hotel, transport is provided.
In a Gothic mansion on the outskirts of Grasmere, The Forest Side is ideally located between the north and central lakes. There are 20 characterful bedrooms here and plenty of space to explore – including the gardens and walled kitchen gardens where the majority of the fruit, vegetables and herbs used by head chef Paul Leonard and his team in the Michelin-starred restaurant are grown.
Another must-stay for those who are wanting breath-taking views over Windermere is Holbeck Ghyll. Focusing on locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, the five-course tasting menu here gives you a taste of what’s on your doorstep, whilst the afternoon tea is renowned. Retire to one of the individually designed bedrooms, many with lake, fell or garden views.
Framed by flourishing hillsides and white sandy beaches, San Sebastián in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country is known as one of the gastronomic capitals of the world. With some of the best tapas-style pintxos and more Michelin stars per square metre than any other city in the world, this is foodie heaven.
Where to Eat
At the foot of Monte Igeldo, with views of the Donostia Bay, Rekondo is renowned for using top-quality ingredients from the surrounding area, bringing authentic flavours and the culture of the Basque Country to the table. For those who are partial to a glass of wine, the superb wine cellar, featuring some of the world’s best wines, will be calling your name.
A real San Sebastián institution, Arzak dates back to 1897 when Juan Mari Arzak’s grandparents built the house that is now home to his restaurant. Awarded its first Michelin star in 1974 (now holding three), the food here is all about research, experimentation and a pinch of magic. At the adjoining Arzak Lab, all the flavours and textures (over 1,000 ingredients) are tested, and diners can choose between the tasting menu and the set menu with a choice of dishes.
Taking a pintxos hopping tour of San Sebastián is a must. Traditionally a small snack served in bars, with anchovies or meat on a slice of bread, this Basque Country cuisine has come a long way – and there are plenty of routes you can take across the city. One of the most famous pintxos bars in San Sebastián is family-run Txepetxa, where all the pintxos come with an anchovy and your choice of additional toppings – think spider-crab cream, sea urchin roe or olive pâté.
Where to Stay
Overlooking the beautiful La Concha Bay (the city’s main beach) Nobu Hotel is a luxurious destination with bags of style spread out across 17 bedrooms and suites. The hotel has its own restaurant, serving food inspired by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s extensive travels and years of studying Japanese cuisine.
Dating back to the early 20th century, Mendi Argia was once a modest villa before it was left to ruin. Luckily Openhouse Studio took on the renovation, preserving the original structure and thoughtfully transforming the space into a boutique hotel. Perched on the slopes of Mount Ulia, book the Ulia suite which has a gorgeous bathtub overlooking the city, or take a terrace room so you can soak up the sun after an afternoon dip in the pool.
By the harbour in the old town, Lasala Plaza hotel pays tribute to the local art and culture of San Sebastián. More than half of the 58 rooms have gorgeous sea views and all are equipped with smart technology allowing you to tweak the temperature and lighting in your room. As well as a stylish rooftop pool and bar, the La Jarana Taberna restaurant, with renowned head chef Ander González at its helm, adds extra flavour to your stay.
The buzzing capital of Denmark offers not only a mixture of modern architecture, culture and royal history, but also has a great restaurant scene. From cosy bistros to flavour-forward Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s plenty to whet your appetite here.
Where to Eat
With three Michelin stars and multiple awards to their name (including being named Best Restaurant in the world four times) Noma is a restaurant everyone should have on their bucket list. Leaving behind the white table cloths, expect sleek Scandi interiors with menus that showcase the best seasonal ingredients throughout the year. From January to summer the menu is all about shellfish, followed by a vegetable focus for autumn and game and foraged forest foods for the remainder of the year. Book a table while you can – the restaurant is set to close at the end of 2024, and will become a pioneering test kitchen dedicated to food innovation.
Get a taste of Scandinavia at Copenhagen’s Selma restaurant. With an ever-evolving menu and a strong focus on seasonally-driven produce, the food speaks for itself. Try the eight small servings such as pork with lingonberry and anchovy or lemon balm cheesecake with yuzu ice cream, or if you’re visiting for lunch, order one of the many smørrebrød on the menu.
In the heart of Copenhagen, Ark is the first vegan restaurant awarded a green Michelin star in the Nordics. This plant-based experience is where sustainability meets causal fine dining, and the aim is to dissolve the stereotypes and exceed expectations of vegan dining. We recommend the full experience menu, adding the prestige wine pairing for the ultimate experience.
Where to Stay
Design lovers will want to check into Hotel SP34 in the Latin quarter of the city. The hotel retains traditional townhouse exteriors, while the inside is all about cool Nordic design. As well as a small gym, a 24-seat cinema room, lounge and bar, there are three restaurants all offering something unique.
Nobis Hotel is ideally located next to the famous Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen Central Station and the internationally renowned Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum. The Nobis Suite is our pick, with amazing views over the city, generous high ceilings and original details such as hardwood floors. The suite has its own dining area, perfect for private meals made to order from the hotel’s restaurant.
Blending Nordic cool with Parisian style, Coco Hotel blends old and new in a very sustainable way. Powered by 100 percent green and sustainable energy, the hotel is the first from the Cofoco restaurant group and has a range of rooms, from singles to junior suites. No two rooms are alike, but it’ll be the social spaces you’ll want to check out – think coffee in the courtyard, ping-pong on the fifth floor or a glass of wine from the 150 bottles on offer at the bar.
Once important in the production and weaving of silk, and a central hub for agricultural produce, Lyon is full of culture, history and culinary surprises. Well deserving of its title as the French Capital of Gastronomy, there’s plenty of gastronomic greatness here.
Where to Eat
Get a taste of contemporary French cooking at Restaurant Bergamote. Labelling themselves as a ‘bistronomic’ restaurant, the team led by chef Maxime Pujol have more than 10 years’ experience in the world of food and showcase the best that Lyon has to offer across their lunch and dinner menus. Try the six-course surprise menu created with seasonal, local ingredients and let your tastebuds be tingled.
Head to NOSCH for a slice of gourmet dining in a comfortable yet lively setting. Stop here for lunch (the menu changes daily), or visit the bistro in the evening for authentic Lyon specialities such as rosette de Lyon (a 40cm-long saucisson paired with bread and butter). Plus, those partial to a glass of wine will be happy to see the chef’s specials paired with wine from the expertly curated list.
Nicknamed the Pope of Gastronomy, Paul Bocuse believed the five senses were to be stimulated, not drowned by over-rich accoutrements. One of the most prominent chefs associated with nouvelle cuisine, he stressed the importance of using only the best quality ingredients which means you’ll find locally-sourced produce, short menus and simple presentation here. Since his passing, the high-flying team at his two-Michelin starred restaurant continue to create a world class dining experience.
Where to Stay
Check into Villa Florentine, a five-star hotel with exceptional panoramic views over the city. As well as 29 rooms and suites, each with its own unique charm, take advantage of the heated swimming pool and steam room, or visit Les Terraces de Lyon, the hotel’s award-winning fine dining restaurant, to sample a true taste of Lyon.
Once the Convent of the Visitation, Fourvière Hôtel was built in 1854 and has been transformed into a luxury hotel with rooms spread across three floors. Retaining some of the convent’s original features, including the former chapel which now houses the hotel’s reception area, there is a pool, wellness spa and manicured gardens to stroll through, alongside a seasonally-driven restaurant, bar and bistro.
On Lyon’s Hill of Prayer, Villa Maïa is a luxury boutique hotel offering designer rooms with beautiful views over the red-roofed city or facing the hotel’s meditation gardens. The spa gives guests a moment of serenity with its 20-metre pool, steam room and sauna, and you’ll find Christian Têtedoie’s Michelin-starred restaurant on site too.